NASW Foundation National Programs
NASW Social Work Pioneers®
George Brager (1923 - 2003)
George Brager was a founder, chief planner and co-director of New York City's Mobilization for Youth. This organization was created to prevent and control delinquency using an innovative, multi-pronged ("saturated") approach based on an understanding of social structural obstacles to youth aspirations in delinquency causation. The program, although attacked by entrenched political interests in the 60s, as were so many community activist programs, subsequently became a model for federal poverty programs dealing with similar issues. In his lifelong commitment to educating and empowering youth, he served as a consultant to numerous public agencies for more than 30 years in addition to his teaching, writing and research duties at Columbia University.
His writing and presentations have contributed to organizational change, development and administration, and community organization. Brager served as a consultant to the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Adelphi University’s Drug Prevention Program, the Allegheny County Office of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, the Social and Rehabilitation Service of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, the Model Cities Program of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the office of Economic Opportunity.
Brager joined Columbia University’s School of Social Work as an assistant professor in 1965, becoming a full professor in 1969. He was appointed Dean in 1981 and served in that position until 1986.
Brager also championed increasing knowledge on the use of computers in social work, industrial social work, and the then-new field of gerontology in social work while at Columbia University. He suggested that computers could be used to great advantage in diagnostic work in an interview with the Columbia Spectator.*
Brager received his Ph.D. from New York University’s Center for Human Relations and Community Studies. He earned his MSW. from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Work in 1948 and his B.A. in social work from the College of the City of New York in 1941.
Significant Achievements and Awards
The Center for Urban Community Services created a scholarship in Brager’s honor. It is the George Brager Memorial Scholarship Dollars for Scholars. The scholarship allows disadvantaged youth to attend college with the necessary support to achieve academic success.
George Brager authored 12 books and numerous articles. Among his publications are:
Brager, G. & Holloway, S. (1993). Assessing prospects for organization change: The uses of force field analysis. Administration in Social Work, 16(3,4), 15-28. doi: 10.1300/J147v16n03_02
Holloway, S. & Brager, G. (1989). Supervising in the Human Services: The Politics of Practice. New York, NY: Free Press.
Brager, G. & Holloway, S. (1978). Changing Human Service Organizations: Politics and Practice. New York, NY: The Free Press, a Division of Simon & Schuster Inc.
Brager, G. & Specht, H. (1973). Community Organizing. New York: Columbia University Press.
Brager, G. (1968). The indigenous worker: A new approach to the social work technician. Social Work, 10(2), 33-40.
*Columbia Spectator, Vol. CVIII, No. 107, p. 1.